No time for a real entry today, except to say that yesterday I was woken up by a pavement saw and today I was woken up by the building’s fire alarm. They’re just testing all the smoke detectors etc. Wouldn’t it be ironic if a fire started on testing day? Just like in Fawlty Towers. This brings me to my first interesting news tidbit from the past 7 days: A German ornithologist discovered that urban nightingales, forced to compete with noise pollution, can sing so loud they break the law. The loudest recorded was 95 decibels, which is as loud as a chainsaw. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld apologized for the torture of Iraqi prisoners and said that there are “many more photographs and indeed some videos” of American soldiers engaging in “blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman” behavior; Rumsfeld took “full responsibility” for the abuse but still refused to resign. “It’s going to get a good deal more terrible, I’m afraid.” Specialist Sabrina Harman, who faces court martial because of her role in the torture, said in an email that she never even saw a copy of the Geneva Conventions until recently. “I read the entire thing,” she said, “highlighting everything the prison is in violation of. There’s a lot.” Harman said her job was to “soften up” prisoners for interrogation. American soldiers allegedly put a harness on an elderly Iraqi woman and rode her like a donkey. New charges included rape, murder, and child molestation. “The system works,” Rumsfeld told the Senate. President Bush, who authorized his staff to leak the fact that he had privately rebuked Donald Rumsfeld for failing to tell him about the torture photographs, apologized on Arab television; British Prime Minister Tony Blair also apologized, though there were questions about the authenticity of the British images. President Bush continued to maintain that the Abu Ghraib torturers were un-American, but human-rights advocates pointed out that similar abuse takes place in U.S. prisons all the time, especially in Texas. U.S. officials postponed the release of this year’s international human-rights report because the timing was somewhat embarrassing. Russian legislators hired a Siberian shaman to purge the parliament building of “negative energy.” Sheikh Abdul-Sattar al-Bahadli, an aide to Moktada al-Sadr, offered rewards for the capture or killing of British soldiers; he said that female soldiers could be kept as slaves. The Congressional Research Service said that Bush Administration officials broke the law when they ordered the Medicare actuary to withhold information on the true cost of the new Medicare law from Congress. African clawed frogs were invading San Francisco. A new study found that Americans get substandard medical care most of the time, despite the fact that they spend about $1.4 trillion a year for it, and scientists announced that women with large breasts and narrow waists are especially fertile.